Now With That Out Of The Way, Back To Christmachine – Audio Reference Server

Now With That Out Of The Way, Back To Christmachine – Audio Reference Server

Ahhh… Where Do You Keep The Vinyl Rips and Hi Resolution Digital Files ? ——————————–>Photo Courtesy Of Doc KEYAZA!!!


So there has been enough (So much!) time passed, it’s blatantly obvious to me that no one else will create an Audio Reference Quality Standards Catalogue for individual album releases.  The powers that be have showed us time and time again that they feel that we should be left in the dark about the music we have purchased and continue to purchase.  It’s loud and clear, they do not have to, there is no other option.

All we asked for was lineage and provenance of recordings that we spend gobs of cash for, as well as the textual and numerical details as to how they mastered, remastered, and transferred the new releases. Once again we are left clueless as to what we are purchasing. We know it can be done, some releases have done just that, usually projects overseen by reputable audio engineers.

I do understand that in some cases they do not know some of these details as they have been lost to time, poor record keeping, lack of proper labeling, and a sad state of storage of the original master tapes.  In some cases they don’t even know whether they are the “original studio masters” or well travelled copies.  We saw that in the report on the sad state of historical music archiving, much has been lost or destroyed….as we know back just a few decades ago music industry analysts and label bosses went with the prevailing wisdom, why would we want to preserve all this music–who is going to want it?  What is the use?


And ESPECIALLY This (Re-Post):


Now that they realize the marketing and money making potential, oh the irony there, eh?  All we have asked for is crumbs; forget about the old arguments (for a moment) on the loudness wars, whether high rez audio can be heard by the human ear (The Nyquist Theorem), Wheather vinyl has more warmth and soul, whether expensive cables give a +/- better listening experience, The law of diminishing returns, “Sources? / Laws of Science?, Do CD’s suck, the failure of SACD, .mp3’s are garbage, etc.  Noel Gallagher saying there will be no more vinyl niche as an industry in a few short years as a result of streaming (He thinks? I agree, he is probably right).

With that said, our niche is just that–our niche, and it will continue as long as the electric grids are up.  Even then some of us crazies will be powering phonographs with a stationary bike, using a carefully sharpened fishbone as a rudimentary needle, a significant other propping up a makeshift jimmy-rigged cardboard cone to telescope and carry those wondrous melodies to the flash mobs in our living rooms.  Vinyl wear and tear bad, but for a time the ears are very good.

Remember what is normal any way, and relative to what?  With those previous dire predictions of the future, keeping in mind that some of us have never had or witnessed an argument on the early Yahoo and Alta Vista message boards about the wonders of Hi Resolution Audio (It will always be Hi-rez to me, soz!), I will try to parse mixed nuts.  Threading the needle like a steaming locomotive on crazy good meds, diplomacy will avail for all, no matter what our differences.  Joy!


Why don’t we focus on the things that which we do agree.

  1. We pay a lot of money re-purchasing music over and over.
  2. Music listening is a different subjective experience for each person.
  3. It “can” take a wee bit of trained ear (Not a B.S Degree), to hear improvements.
  4. The music is only as good as it’s source.
  5. ABX’ing can, not always, but “can” manifest as human listening fallibility & weakness.
  6. Placebo affect and bias are real “things”[sic].
  7. Provenance and Lineage of our recordings is Interesting and “nice” to have.
  8. There is such a thing as “brick walling”, “anti aliasing”, and de-noising”.
  9. There is more than one type of compression in music.
  10. Type A removes many of the tiny spaces to make music file formats smaller.
  11. Type B holds the fidelity of the performance together, Very Good!
  12. Good source players are available at many price ranges.
  13. There are good headphones and bad headphones at all price ranges.
  14. When in noisy public settings, audio nuances tend to decline.
  15. You Do NOT need to be an audiophile, to source good quality audio (If Available).
  16. Audiophiles can be nuts, same with Hi-Rez deniers. (In a good way 😉 )
  17. That said, Head-fi has it’s place, and deniers seem to hang around bigly.
  18. There are, subjectively to each of us, good mastering engineers and poor ones.
  19. We all have to listen to our source material and make our own judgements.
  20. I can have (IMO); my own vast archive of “self-proclaimed” Reference Quality Vinyl Rips, Hi-Rez digital lossless [FLAC 24/48, 24/96, 24/172, 24/192, 32 bit float, .WAV, even ALAC and DSD], quality sourced and mastered CD’s [16/44] etc., portable DAP’s/amps/DAC’s, and use .mp3’s and Youtube to preview and stream when need be.  It’s fine that you might consider this fodder, trendy, and hipsterish.  I often use apple ear buds while on the go with the mobile. I’m not a gobsmacked music snob…I listen to AC/DC cranked on the local radio in the car, beautifully overbearingly loud in all its overly-compressed glory.  I’d dance randomly in the street to an 80’s boombox with cassettes daily if these types of gatherings where more frequent.
  21. You can have 50,000 lossy .mp3’s on the go, with an excellent ear, sourcing quality CD’s and audio on your own volition (all without my schtick). You might even listen to vinyl for nostalgia purposes possibly.  Further you own low cost but excellent sounding source players as well as an expensive pair of headphones and/ or IEM’s. Even bluetooth love…it’s almost 5.0 (I too am sick of those frickin tangly chords). There’s nothing wrong with any of that.  What I’m getting at is it doesn’t matter.
  22. We can all site the Nyquist Theorem till we are blue in the face, and never get anywhere…agree to disagree perhaps.  If you’re happy, I am happy.
  23. Electronic music and Hip Hop does not and should not have to follow any of these rules.  Electronic music tends to sound great, almost always produced very well, unless it’s a very low bit rate or has been up sampled, but that is usually by design.  Hip Hop needs to be vicious or passive aggressive and Bassy…clean tight bassy…Superb dope! The only reservation I have is when either genre is too bright and shreds my ears. It’s rare, again unless by design.
  24. Classical music is on the other end of the spectrum…the rules DO very very very much apply. Soundstage and instrument separation are paramount.  Loud and soft, loud and soft just like The Pixies or Nirvana. A muddy midrange is a killer.  Attack, sustain, decay should be transparently punchy, grainy, and accurate.  The music has to breathe and pulse…ripping the heart right out your chest even with headphones on. Emotions, knocked about, tugged like a puppet to strings. It should convey an air of atmospheric space with perceivable parameters…and in a perfect world, pseudo-holophonic sound, as if you the listener can imagine you’re there live sitting center stage with the orchestra wrapped 180 degrees from ear to ear.  You’ll know something is wrong right off, a piano from each and every-little-single-ebony-to-ivory key is muddled together as one, or squashed in a constant spew of notes like an accordion. We should be able to perceive and hear milliseconds of spaciation[sic] and be acute to a differentiation between every single tapped key, no matter how fast the piece. I’ve said before piano is the hardest instrument to reproduce in recording with accuracy.  If that’s muddy then it’s all over.  I won’t get started on the pneumatic breath of the solo cello…you get my drift.
  25. Pop music…It depends on if it’s good! 😉 😉

So with all that said we arrive at the conclusion that we may not agree subjectively.  Please forgive me, as I was being purposefully presumptuous in some of the things I said above… but that is not the point.  I’m just generalizing for the sake of getting at the crux.  Most of the people reading this will not care one way or the other.  Some will be bored to tears as to, “what is the going on and on about”.  In the end we all just love music and are devilishly passionate about it–Pretty simple, no? 🙂

So, in the past I did some reviews….Beck, The Beatles Catalogue, Led Zeppelin Catalog, etc., they each get hundreds of hits daily as reference, awesome.  I also posted full album playlists (with some lineage)…it was quite subtle, again on purpose as to what I have deemed a Reference Quality Audio Recording.  I don’t know if I said it outright, I may have…If not my tongue in cheek went over people’s heads. A failed attempt by me.  Yes, you are left to taking me at my word, have to search for it yourself, and availability is spotty.  I know it’s somewhat authoritarian but let your ears be the judge.  There were many times I have searched for a single particular recording over weeks and months before finally getting a hold of it.  Time well spent!

If you search hard enough you will be able to get a hold of same source as I did, some searches will be easy, others will require patience and time.  Moderately I will recommend the High-Rez digital transfer available for everyone to purchase with a quick download and some cash.  I have no stake in this…no adverts, self funded hosting and servers.  I’m just passionate about music and everything else, and I know you are as well, or you would not be reading this.

Just a note **** again, the night site is under maintenance (The links from here the day page are static as of writing this)…It will be up again soon enough.  I’m going to do all those recordings here on the main page individually anyhow.  So there will probably be some updates as well.  When live, it will give you an idea of some of what I will cover, and it is only a small part of projected works.

From now on instead of taking a few months to do mega reviews, although I will someday do the Complete Pink Floyd Archives Posts (Damn there I go again, that’s one exception), from now on there will be single album releases (From past and present) which a single post can be done in one day.  I will do whatever I am listening to and I have in my wheelhouse as the best recordings and rips / digital to date.  The posts will vary widely in style, genre, and medium.  One day or two could be Thrash, the next Classical, Jazz, Electronic, Pop, wherever the music takes me.

In between I will continue to do my sordid stories, post mixes, photos, memorabilia, any type of art really.  I intend on making this site better by making it a reference site for individual albums.  In that vein It would make it possible for those who do not want to read my silly erotica, still be able to come here intentionally via direct link or search engine in order to just browse my reviews and recommendations on specific albums…quick and easy.

In conclusion, each album will have an easy to read, specific format that I have worked out, and tweak things as I go along.  If there is anything extra about a specific release that you would like to see, send me an email or message.  If I can get the info – I will post it or write you back.  Understand that I cannot council and/or recommend file sharing or piracy, so do not ask…messages from readers as to these types of questions will go unanswered.   No disrespect…just being clear.


Thanks For Reading & All Your Endless Support. My Readers Are Awesome!

Love You Lots! Stay Well, Be Kind & Bless.


Tak Tak, Bless!

Grazie, Ciao!

Obrigadx, Tchau! Adeus!

Gracias, Adios!

Danke, Tchuss!

Merci, Au revoir!

Dank je…Bedankt, Alstublieft!

Merci Vilmal, Adeau!

Gracies, Adieu!

Gracies, Adeu!


CM ☕

Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.

Copyright © 2017 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.


©2014 – 2020 Christmachine ☕

Show off the Portable Rig and Driveline Specs…


Astel And Kern AK100 -Self Mod., ALO Audio International HP Amp, ALO Audio Green line cable.


Audeze LCD2 Bamboo rev. 2G [Balanced XLR] Headphones

VinylTransfer(Needledrop) / Reel To Reel Transfer/ HD TRAcks/ CD to FLAC/ALAC/ WAV/.mp3(320kbps) -> AK100 Self Mod 24/192 Capable Audio Reference Server (Stock WM8740 DAC) w/ 22Ohm Output Stage Bypass, hard-wired from output stage FET’sdirect to pins of HP output jack via Cardas copper litz solid core wire @ > 1-ohm of impedance (32GB Onboard FLASH + 2 x 128GB San Disk Micro SDXC-10 Cards) -> ALO Audio SXC 22 mini to mini 3 Wire Silver Plated Copper -> ALO Audio International Headphone Amp w/ 24bit96kHz DAC w/ Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC Chip  -> ALO Audio Green Line (balanced universal mini XLR) w/classic copper sends and silver-plated copper returns -> ALO Audio Green Line RSA 4 pin Balanced XLR -> Audeze LCD2 Bamboo rev. 2G w/mini XLR Metal Reinforced Male Input Connects.


This is an Open Source Friendly Site

I’ve had this rig for more than a year now and I have not even had to use a “hard reset” even once…not one hiccup, just drag and drop files (Hi-rez or 16Bit/44.1kHz) on to the SD cards either directly via USB to player or put the Sandisk SDXC cards into the included adapter for computer card readers and dump many GB of data  very quickly. For a few months I even used manipulated code firmware for the AK100, which was hacked by this kind developer from Russia on one of the forums because it added a gapless feature, better GUI (General User Interface), and more volume via the internal amp (it even sounded clearer)…this guy did it months sooner than Astel & Kern.

Now the official AK100 firmware has all of these features. Again another glaring example where the “underground” / “open source” movement forces a large company to get there act together and put out the options for the player that they want. That is not a dig at Astel and Kern as it sounds, I think they were releasing updates slowly to make sure there were not major problems on a large scale with their code. Astel & Kern is a great DAP maker, expensive but great. With all that said I would not advise anyone to instal unofficial firmware if they do not know what they are doing because you could brick your unit. This actually happened to some AK100 users on Head-fi and they could have had their warranties voided by Astel and Kern but A & K were nice enough to fix the units for free…now that’s customer service.


The Famous Wolfson WM8740 DAC Chip.

One last thing these and other DAP units are known to not be noobie user friendly in the sense that you have to have a little technical know how to get everything up and running (for ex. different formatting of the memory cards and “Hard and Soft Resets”) and if you hit a snag go social to fix a hangup. This is what the “Pono Ecosystem” is trying to eliminate a more seamless user experience and a tight GUI. Further if your a coming from the Apple Ecosystem these units are not as playlist friendly as the Ipod / Iphone / android/ Windows and Itunes and this is a deal-breaker for many…just like “gapless” is essential to me if you listen to albums like Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon” or any album with no breaks between songs. Some of the other players that one can consider in this category that work well but all have their ups and downs are models like the X3/X5 from Fiio, the Ibasso DX series, and the HiFiMan HM-901. Finally be aware that if you have power hungry or high impedance “cans”  you may need to strap a small headphone amp to your portable player in order to fully power the headphones correctly. Happy listening!tagdits




Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.



Copyright © 2015 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine

Concern for Neil Young’s Pono Music Audio Sources & “Eco-System” Put to Bed… [Update #2]

9adc2837c2c40c9a477f8e79a75975ea_largeCause for Concern ?

Quote Posted by Head Fi member: “miceblue”:”Here’s the core problem: Pono wants music for the masses, and they’re telling folks that hi-rez is better, and not talking about mastering quality. In my view, this amounts to a deception and a big chink in their armor. If Pono really wants better quality music for the masses, then a dialog about mastering quality in general and how it’s an order of magnitude more important than bit rates is in order, as is their specific practices in acquiring the best hi-rez files with reasonable dynamic range compression from labels. The appearance of Pono will (crosses fingers) stimulate more conversation about the evils of dynamic range compression in the mainstream press. The question is: Will Pono be a leader in this area of desperate need, or will they become just another marketing organization using “hi-rez files” as a buzzword for “a better quality listening experience?” I think if they stick with the latter without addressing the former they’re just opening themselves up to rantings on the web, which would hurt, or reverse, a grass roots, viral campaign on the web.

but what I want to know is if the masters of the music I’ll be listening to are similarly superior”


I have to admit when I heard about the coming Pono Music Store & it’s all encompassing   “Eco-System” I was equally concerned about it’s future sources of their Hi-res files, on the other hand if the Pono Download Store does quality control on their studio masters and they are superior I will want to buy them as well. I will be using my spectrograph analyzer like all the other geeks to find out, but I am inclined to take them at their word. At first they were silent on the issue understandably as there are a lot of “unknowns” when dealing with the music industry, but if anyone could sort that out it would be Neil Young. I am extremely hopeful that they do not fail where HD Tracks have, where their “Studio Masters” are hit and miss with no lineage or the original Hi-Rez Album Art. Some are excellent and as they should be, others are terrible. Example of good and bad in my experience from HD Tracks:

Excellent: Norah Jones – Come Away With Me (2002) 24Bit/192kHz HD Tracks RAW (Re-Mastered 2012 at Sterling Sound NYC from DSC00796_zps73e5b804) Lossless Flac [HI-RES]\ [STELLAR] Clear as the wind, you can hear the expressions of Norah’s mouth in the ether and alternating piano keys (which are one of the the hardest recorded audio sounds to replicate on analog tape) that don’t all sound mashed together, muddy, and congested.


Bad: Megadeth – Countdown to Extinction (1992) (2004 Digital Remaster) HD Tracks 24Bit/96kHz FLAC [HI-RES]\….[Horrible: Brickwalled and terribly loud, Dave Mustaine did bring the vocals more forward which is the only thing better than the original CD release. Don’t give me the excuse that it’s metal and it should be loud. Yes, but not clipping loud, it’s called peak limiting, dynamic range compression, and de-noising run wild .

So we have no way of knowing how the tracks are until bought and analyzed….We at the major forums will be hyper-vigilant. I don’t mean to sound skeptical as you can see by my posts I love the movement (I’m already there) but the Pono team should know this is more of a concern than bit-depth. ~ Then we got the updated word from the Pono Music team via KFrench’s Question & Answer thread at They heard our rallying cry, and loud. (see below)

*****UPDATE #1****

The word from the pono music team about the sourcing Quality of the Studio Masters in the Coming Pono Music Store ….

Pono people are not related to Pono Music but they have a friendly dialog continuing with them, obviously a refreshing aspect in this movement. Here is the question posed to the music team and their response.

Question to the Pono Music Team: “@creator”

“3) Are there standards set for music released on here in terms of compression and quality? There are many terrible modern remasters of old releases that originally were amazingly mastered and full sounding. I could imagine them putting up the high res files of the brick walled Nirvana Nevermind, compressed Michael Jackson Off The Wall/Thriller/Bad, and many more instead of the original masters. Would they offer high rez downloads of terrible compressed music or would they tell the labels to go back to the archives?”

Pono Music Response:

“3). Yes. Our promise to provide the highest resolution unadulterated music based on the highest quality master available from the labels. We obtain our masters directly from the labels with no middlemen. We will absolutely have quality standards. In cases where no hi-quality digital master exists, based on community demand we will go back to the analog master and create a hi-res master ourselves.”

*****UPDATE #2****



Erast Fandorin about 1 hour ago

“@ Creator

I also feel it will be vital that The PonoMusic Store is upfront about the provenance of its recordings, giving year of mastering & mastering engineers, etc., as well as the bit depth / sampling rate. It appears from previous Creator comments that the team are thinking along those lines.

HD Tracks and other sites provide files ‘as supplied to them by the record companies’. Comments on other forums appear to suggest that some of the files that the record companies supply are upsampled and the company have not been clear about their original specifications. Some customers of these sites do their own spectral analysis/dynamic range checks and are not satisfied with the sound of certain albums because of what can appear to be an attempt at pulling the wool over customers’ eyes. No point paying premium prices for 24/96 files if all you’re getting is actually 16/44.1 upsampled.

Pono has to work with the record companies and cannot dictate to them. I hope PonoMusic will be able to offer sufficient persuasion to the record companies to ensure that files true to the source are what is offered for sale.”




Creatorthe PonoMusic Team about 1 hour ago

“@Erast Fandorin:

Erast we are indeed putting in safeguards against upsampled music in our content ingestion process. We know well about the complaints about other hi-res stores and have learned from their mistakes.

We may not be able to dictate the labels but we will be able to filter out garbage. Also there are two sides to labels: the business side and the technical side. We know them both and know that the technical side especially are unhappy with some of the decisions made by the business side (such as upsampling) and will be our allies in correcting this trend. They in fact need a movement like ours to give them ammunition to win the internal battle with the business side of labels.”

So there you have it straight from the horses mouth. [Shit Eating Grin!]


To learn more about the project visit the pono music campaign page and you can head over to the forums which is busy and slow off and on but it’s nice to have, thanks to KFrench, a place for pono people to learn and discuss issues both positive and areas of concern.

Enjoy @Pono_People !


****UPDATE #4**** July 22, 2015

The Pono People web board is now just used for archiving. The new address is for the Pono Music Website. You have to sign up and log in, but it’s a great resource for all things Pono! New Link Below




Thanks & Enjoy.



Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.



Copyright © 2015 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine

Welcome to Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server!


My Rig On The Rocks ~ Wish You Were Here! xoxoxo Muaw.

Welcome to Christmachine Audio Reference Music Server!

In this archive I will be posting, IMO the best / specific releases that contain the finest sound quality in the world. All of the titles posted here I’ve listened to 5-20+ versions on all different media (over and over comparing and discussing with a trained ear)… and through my 30 year journey of doing this through listening, research, and forums, I will point you in the direction of these best possible sources. My posts are not final and will always be subject to updates as my research evolves, there can be other sources that are just as “good” as what I post but it is all a matter of opinion…Ex. Sometimes I like a clinical sounding source and others an emotionally warm source, often times keeping them all depending on my mood or listening setup.

So no more need to settle with a poorly mastered / loud / dynamically sterile CD, lossy .mp3, or unlovingly pressed vinyl. We will focus on comparing Vinyl vs. CD vs HD Tracks vs Pono Store + others etc. By offering you keywords to use in search, I can save you endless hours of searching so you can get straight to the source. Google and Duck Duck Go work wonders as you know if your conduct your searches correctly. Also as music preferences are subjective, I’m not implying anyone does not have good versions of these titles already, if your happy with what you have that is fine. All tiles in various resolutions are available on the internet off and on and can be downloaded / purchased by you with some searching. I guarantee it will be worth your while if you care about sound quality.tagdits

The titles, links, and videos etc. I post in the separate “Playlist” blog page feed (See the “PLAYLIST” page button below the “HOME” page button in the main menu) are  what I have listened to in their entirety “today” or “that day” in chronological order. Again I will give specific key words in the titles as well as links to reference said media for your review and enjoyment. Again if you, over time, search out these specific sources it will open your eyes to a whole new way of listening to music.

These specific titles will wash over you like a tidal wave of sound and elicit emotional joy in the highest form, maybe you can experience what trained ears call audio Nirvana. This is often described after years of listening to a a favorite album we already have at home…as if the veil has (finally) been lifted and you are truly listening to the music the way the artists in the studio intended you to hear it…for the very first time. If you close your eyes, you will sense the artist or band is performing right in front of you and you can visualize and point to where the instruments are on a virtual 3D sound stage all around you.

It was John Lennon who said that Sgt. Pepper and many other landmark Beatles albums were not recorded to be listened to in stereo. Stereo was available to them at the time but John and other members of the band thought their music was recorded and sounded best in mono (One speaker or two speakers or headphones playing the same thing in each channel). The reason they released the stereo versions against their original judgement was because the record companies demanded it as did the fans. Interesting perspective on audio opinion our and our individual preferences.

If anyone has music they would like me to review and possibly post in the “Playlist” page you can send me specific links to the content at the email link in the contact page. I love all styles of music and if I like it I will post it in the feed. Again please send a SPECIFIC / direct links to your music as I can’t spend a lot of time looking through your Facebook Page or Twitter Posts.


This is an Open Source Friendly Site

Remember most bands recordings are pressed or digitized by record company media conglomerates that could give a care how the CD sounds or if the recording you have is sourced from many generations removed from the original analogue source tapes / just an up-sampled CD source…they’d be happy to sell it to you again and again a few years later as a “better” sounding remaster.

With that said if you do download music please remember to support the artists if you like what you hear, by buying their media, merchandise, or attending gigs. I know it sounds cliche and obvious but It must be said. Many times I’ve downloaded something and if I keep and like it I’ll buy the media either in physical form or as digital download and just throw it in the recycle bin or delete it…either way they get compensated for their art as they rightfully should as they are bearing their gifts to us.

I will be posting daily but you can also follow me on Twitter,, and Tumblr if you like.


Happy hunting, listening, & Respect.



Please do not reproduce this article either all or in part without the expressed written permission of the author who can be reached via the “Contact” section in the header menu. You may link to the article if you wish, all that we ask is that you give credit to the respective author…”Christmachine” wherever you post a link. Thank you.



Copyright © 2015 Christmachine. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 – 2020 Christmachine